LA VIE EN ROSE
REVIEW BY DAVE SMITH
The title of this movie translates loosely to "looking
at life through rose colored glasses." This was certainly a necessity for the great French singer Edith Piaf. Piaf
was the daughter of a street singer and a circus acrobat. Her mother dumped her on her father and her father dumped her on
his mother who just happened to be a prostitute. Piaf spent a number of her formative years in a brothel. It was there
that a kindly prostitute "adopted" her and encouraged her singing. One day her father returned and took her with him to
perform on the streets. It was in this atmosphere that she learned to project and thereby developed a surprisingly strong
voice for a little waif who was only four feet eight inches tall.
As is the case with many film bios, Piaf's life is not
told chronologically. Her many marriages and affairs are worked effortlessly into the film. Apparently the love of her
life was the great French boxer Marcel Cerdan. When she begged Cerdan (who was married with children) to fly back to Paris
to join her, he was tragically killed in a plane crash. Piaf is personified by Marion Cotillard. Cotillard gives one of
the all time great biographical portrayals in this film. I am not sure how many of the songs are actually sung by Cotillard
and how many are Piaf's voice but there is evidently some mixture. Director Olivier Dahan manages to condense the many triumphs
and tragedies in Piaf's life into a mesmerizing whole. This film will probably make you want to go out and buy some of Piaf's
songs. Roger Ebert even tells you where to go to get some free downloads...
http:www.youtube.com/watch? v=rbs15 203Ms
"see all videos")
It's amazing that Piaf was able to sing at all. She was a morphine addict, and an alcoholic. Because
of this, she aged prematurely dying at 47 looking like she was 75. Cotillard handles the aging process
skillfully, showing Piaf performing hunchbacked and wasted but still throwing out her powerful voice.
Guess what? I am one of the few people who predicted Cotillard would
get a best actress Oscar for this film. I was amazed when I heard
her name mentioned as the winner.